LAPD Officer Who Killed Teen Bystander With Stray Bullet Will Not Be Charged

A Los Angeles police officer will not be charged after a stray bullet he fired killed a 14-year-old bystander during a police-involved shooting in December 2021, the California Department of Justice announced.

In a report released Wednesday, the state DOJ said it had concluded that criminal charges were “not appropriate” following a thorough investigation and cited “insufficient evidence” for criminal prosecution of the officer.

However, the state DOJ said it recommended that the LAPD “improve lines of communication in response to Immediate Action and Rapid Deployment scenarios” and “should consider updating their communication training bulletin and any related training to account for the type of situation presented during this event.”

The teen, Valentina Orellana Peralta, was struck by the stray bullet while Christmas shopping with her mother in North Hollywood on Dec. 23, 2021, after police officers responded to a report of an active shooter at a Burlington Coat Factory, according to the state DOJ.

Officers found another injured victim covered in blood and the 24-year-old suspect, Daniel Elena Lopez, holding an object in his hand, the report said. An officer then fired at the suspect, fatally shooting him.

The LAPD previously released surveillance video, body camera footage and the 911 dispatch audio of the incident, which showed the suspect attacking shoppers with a bike lock inside the Burlington Coat Factory store. He did not have a gun in his possession, according to investigators.

Read more here from ABC News.